Motor racing at Arena Essex Raceway

Fixtures - Review of recent meetings

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Sunday, 19 April 2015 - National Bangers W/Q Round 1 plus Stock Rods, Lightning Rods and Grand Prix Midgets Southern Championship

This meeting, and all others, are captured by Arena DVDs. Order your DVD now..


The first National Banger World Qualifying round of the season was a feature of our last meeting here a fortnight ago. The final went the way of Dale Hughes. Hughes spent both heats following Dean Goodearl around, his last bend shunt on both occasions not unseating the leader. But with Goodearl upgraded in the final, Hughes had little competition for the win.
 
There wasn't much crashing to be had as the drivers present were more interested in accumulating points towards the World Final. This seems to be a feature of more and more National Banger meetings across the country. Last weekend at Aldershot, the "back to basics" Bangers featured 70 cars and some great action, the Unlimited National Banger Southern Championship meanwhile featured 30 cars and hardly any contact at all.
 
We had three (supposedly!) non contact formulas on the bill.
 
Alan Buckland fought a thrilling battle with Marc Deland in the Grand Prix Midget Southern Championship, the only visit of the class to Arena in 2015.
 
After both had demoted early leader, Jack Hodges, Buckland closed on Deland, aided by the latter getting momentarily baulked by a backmarker. Taking to the outside line, Buckland fought wheel to wheel with Deland over the remaining laps and as the two crossed the line, Buckland got the verdict by the narrowest of margins.
 
It was a shame the great example shown by the Grand Prix Midget formula was not replicated in the Lightning Rod class where all out warfare broke out. New driver to the class Lee Hall saw his new car badly damaged by a deliberate retaliatory attack from heat winner Nigel Carroll. Spins and shunts were the order of the day and through it all Nathan Roberts took a heat and final double, although even he was lucky to not be docked for a hefty shove on the wayward Hall to take the lead of the heat race.
 
Clearly the Lightning Rod racers need to be read the riot act before their next meeting. There needs to be a culture change in the formula I think. Overtaking at Arena has never been so difficult due to the near absence of a grippy outside line. Over the years a culture has developed where it is considered entirely acceptable for cars to nudge slower cars into a bend to open up a gap to then sneak up the inside coming out of the bend. They feel forced into doing this as they may be up to a second or so quicker a lap than the car ahead, but if they venture outside they generally get a bump from the car inside as it drifts out wide and they then get railroaded back by the pack. So, what can be done? In the Grand Prix Midget final that same day we saw a great side by side battle for many laps. The winner proving that great use can be made of the outside line - but you need the full scale co-operation of the racer on the inside too. In the open wheeled Grand Prix Midgets, the man on the inside is not going to drift wide as any clash of wheels is generally catastrophic to one or both cars. There is already a rule about cars keeping to their line - with adequate enforcement the Lightning Rods can do this too!
 
I think that it is time to put a white line just outside what we would consider to be the inside line around this racetrack. If a slower car has a faster car behind, he has to choose either the inside or the outside line and stick to it. He can switch lanes where it is safe to do so, but he can't wander between them. The same applies to the driver completing the pass, he can't cut down onto the inside line before completely past. Given racing room around the outside we should see more overtaking without the need to clash bumpers. At the moment there is always a tight judgement call as to whether the racer behind was too forceful or the racer ahead was not sticking to his line - a simple white line should make that easier to call.
 
White lines probably wouldn't have helped decide the Stock Rod final as contact again affected the result, but this one probably put down to a racing incident. Alex Martin lead most of the way before Dean Kitchen found a gap up the inside. Daniel Newman then found the smallest of gaps up the inside of Kitchen and the resultant three abreast moment saw Kitchen rattled into Martin, the latter than bundled into the barrier as Newman raced off with the lead and the win. The two place penalty for the contact was the right decision by the steward, there was a gap and Newman went for it, many others would have done the same thing, but it was questionable if he was fully alongside and if Kitchen could have had time to react to avoid the accident. It is the nature of Motorsport that decisions are made in a fraction of a second and for the want of that time or an inch of extra tarmac you can win or lose. Put yourself in Newman's shoes - in his view he took the inside line and got past. Kitchen would have been thinking he was getting into the lead and then bang, Newman forces him left into Martin.  Then Martin himself would have been battling to hang onto the lead and bang, Kitchen puts him in the fence! Not that there were any complaints from anyone other than Newman, but you could imagine the steward getting three visits from the drivers all asking for a different penalty/result! Who'd be a steward!
 
With Newman demoted,  Jamie Akehurst inherited the win, continuing his fine start to the season.
 
 
Close finish : Alan Buckland (partially obscured) just beats Marc Deland to the Southern Championship win.
 
Three abreast : A three abreast moment in the Stock Rod final is about to lead to disaster for Alex Martin on the outside.
 
Contrasting fortunes : Whilst Lee Hall (169) had a disastrous day from this heat one  shunt onwards, Nathan Roberts (456) and Richard Warner (411) went on to finish first and second in the Lightning Rod final.
 
Shared wins : Between them, Dale Hughes (27) and Dean Goodearl shared the Banger success on Sunday.
 
Sunday, 05 July 2015 Chick Woodroffe Memorial Meeting Featuring All KA Micro National Bangers plus Ministox, Lightning Rods Supreme Q/R 3 and Stock Rods Supreme Q/R 3
Sunday, 07 June 2015 National Bangers W/Q round 2 plus Ministox, Lightning Rods and Stock Rods
Monday, 25 May 2015 PRI Bangers plus, Stock Rods Supreme Q/R 2, Ministox and Junior Bangers
Sunday, 17 May 2015 All MPV (people carriers) National Bangers plus 2L Stock Cars, Stock Rods and Lightning Rods Supreme Q/R 2
Monday, 04 May 2015 PRI Bangers plus Junior Bangers, 2L Stock Cars and Ministox
Sunday, 19 April 2015 National Bangers W/Q Round 1 plus Stock Rods, Lightning Rods and Grand Prix Midgets Southern Championship
Monday, 06 April 2015 Micro National Bangers 4 Man Teams plus Junior Bangers, Stock Rods Supreme Q/R 1 and Ninja Sprints
Sunday, 05 April 2015 PRI Bangers plus Ministox, Lightning Rods Supreme Q/R 1 and 2L Stock Cars
Sunday, 22 March 2015 PRI Bangers plus Junior Bangers, Lightning Rods and Stock Rods
Sunday, 08 March 2015 Open Shakedown X featuring National Bangers Unlimited Overs and 2L Unders plus Ministox and 2L Stock Cars
    

Arena Essex Raceway
Arena Essex Raceway